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UFV Sports Friday – Cascades Golf Grabs Bronze At Nationals

Abbotsford/Chilliwack – Golf: Cascades men’s team rallies in final round to claim national bronze

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s golf team staged a massive final-round rally on Friday at the PING CCAA Golf National Championships to earn the bronze medal.

Playing at their home course, Chilliwack Golf Club, the Cascades men came into the day in seventh place, 17 strokes back of the front-running Niagara College Knights and eight strokes back of a podium position.

But they caught fire on Friday, combining for the best team score of the day – a two-under 286. That boosted them into third place with a cumulative three-round total of 873, one stroke better than the Georgian Grizzlies (874).

It’s the seventh time in nine years that the UFV golf program has placed at least one team on the podium at CCAA nationals, and in light of how far back they were to start the day, bronze felt pretty sweet.

“There’s good ways and bad ways to come in third place, and this was definitely a great way to get third,” Cascades head coach Chris Bertram said. “I’m really proud of the team coming up with the best score of the final day of the tournament.

“We had a tall task today. We said that if we did everything we needed to do, third was in sight. And you know, they stepped up. They played great, and they earned it.”

Leading the way for the Cascades, as usual, was fourth-year standout Connor O’Dell. The two-time CCAA All-Canadian from Maple Ridge, B.C. carded a two-under 70 on Friday – one of the best individual rounds of the day. That boosted him up the leaderboard into a tie for sixth place at -1 for the tournament, and he earned all-star honours as a top-six finisher.

O’Dell was also the male recipient of the Fair Play Award, in recognition of his sportsmanship throughout the week.

“That summarizes Connor O’Dell,” Bertram said. “He’s a great player, he’s a great person to play golf with, and it’s great to see him recognized. Everyone who plays with him talks about how much of a gentleman he is on the golf course. He makes our program and our university very proud.”

Connor McLellan finished tied for 13th overall at +2 for the tourney, after firing a one-over 73 on Friday. Zach Olson shot a tidy one-under 71 to finish tied for 20th, while Nathan Bahnman (+2 on Friday, +9 for the tourney, T32) and Cody Stewart (even par on Friday, +10 for the tourney, T38) also contributed to the comeback.

The Camosun Chargers won the men’s team championship with a cumulative 860 strokes, and the Niagara Knights (868) took second.

Étienne Papineau of the Champlain St. Lawrence Lions was the men’s individual champ at -10 for the tourney. Silver and bronze went to Stephen Brown of the Lambton Lions (-8) and Matt Lemay of the Georgian Grizzlies (-7).

On the women’s side, the Cascades authored their best team score of the week, 160, to move up from sixth place into a tie for fourth with 514 strokes over the three rounds. The Humber Hawks (473), UBC Okanagan Heat (481) and Georgian Grizzlies (491) won the women’s team gold, silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Carolyn Lee of UBC Okanagan crushed the field by eight strokes to win the women’s individual title at +13. Katie Griffiths of the Red Deer Queens (+21) and Humber’s Sonia Nagindas (+22) took silver and bronze.

Jennifer Kell was the top individual finisher for the UFV women – she ended up 11th overall at +38 for the tourney. PacWest champ Hannah Dirksen posted her best round of the week on Friday (a seven-over 79) to move up to 14th place at +44, while Ciara Melhus (+85) was tied for 24th.

Given the youth of the Cascades women’s team – Dirksen is in her second year, while Kell and Melhus are both rookies – Bertram is confident the best is yet to come.

“They’re sitting there looking at those medals and those banners, and I know that they believe in their hearts it could have been them,” he said. “I’m really excited to get them all back next year and have another go at it.”

This week marked the first time UFV had hosted the PING CCAA Golf National Championships. The 2016 edition of the tournament will be hosted by Holland College in Charlottetown, PEI.

“All the feedback was extremely positive,” Bertram said. “Getting great weather is a really big piece of the puzzle when it comes to hosting a golf tournament, and we certainly did well on that front. But the staff here at the golf course, the staff of the athletics department, and the communities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack really came together and made everybody feel welcome. We can’t wait to do it again someday.”

Women’s Basketball: McDonald, Claggett lead Cascades past Mariners in exhibition action

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team beat the Vancouver Island University Mariners 79-62 in exhibition action on Saturday evening at the Envision Athletic Centre.

Third-year guard Kaitlyn McDonald and rookie forward Taylor Claggett were among the standouts for the Cascades. McDonald was absolutely on fire from beyond the arc, going 6-for-7 from downtown en route to a team-high 18 points. Claggett had a huge double-double, notching 13 points and 16 rebounds to spearhead UFV’s dominance on the boards. The hosts out-rebounded the Mariners, a PacWest conference program, by a 51-26 margin.

“We’re relying really heavily on some of these young kids right now, and they’re coming through,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said, reflecting on another strong outing from Claggett. “That’s kind of cool to see.

“We know Kaitlyn can be a great shooter, and that’s what we’re expecting from her this year – to knock down some shots. I’m sure she’s not going to go 6-for-7 every night, but we’re looking for her to knock down shots. If nobody’s defending her, she’s got to hit . . . so that was good see, for sure.”

Shayna Cameron notched 16 points for UFV, while Kayli Sartori chipped in with 14. Rookie point guard Kate Head did a little bit of everything, posting seven points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Lanae Adams scored a game-high 22 points for VIU, and Sara Simovic also scored in double figures with 14.

The Cascades sealed the win with some strong defence in the fourth quarter, out-scoring the Mariners 17-7 in the frame. Tuchscherer wasn’t thrilled with his team’s defence prior to that point, though.

“For most of the game, we were kind of lost defensively,” he analyzed. “It was nice to finish strong, but the first three quarters – especially the third quarter defensively – we were not where we needed to be. I give full credit to VIU. They came out and played a great game tonight.”

The Cascades host a pair of exhibition games next weekend. The play the PacWest’s Capilano Blues at 6 p.m. on Friday, and the Western Mustangs – a fellow CIS program from London, Ont. – at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Women’s Soccer: Cascades back on winning track, beat Bisons 3-2

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s soccer team raced out to an early lead and hung on for a 3-2 victory over the Manitoba Bisons at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Friday evening.

The Cascades controlled the majority of play in the first half and after building a 3-0 advantage, it looked as though the home team might run away with it. But the Bisons had other ideas, finding a goal in first-half stoppage time and adding another late in the second to make things interesting.

The CIS No. 10-ranked Cascades kept the visitors at bay, though, to improve to 7-3-1 on the season, snapping a two-game losing streak while moving up from fourth place to third in the West Division. Manitoba fell to 6-3-2

“It’s a game that we dominated in every way except the scoreboard,” said UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht, alluding to the fact his squad out-shot the Bisons 22-7.

“It’s kind of frustrating that we’re not seeing the quantifiable results of some very positive things. We’ve just got to keep moving forward and start to execute a little bit better. We should have scored more goals today, and we just let them have two good chances – our keepers had no chance on either goal.”

The Cascades are back in action at home on Saturday – they host the Winnipeg Wesmen (1-9-1) in a 5 p.m. start at Abby Senior. It’s UFV’s last regular season home game of the campaign, and graduating fifth-year players Dayle Jeras, Shelby Beck and Jade Palm will be honoured in a pregame Senior Night ceremony.

On Friday, the Cascades opened the scoring in the 19th minute on a quick counterattack. Gurneet Dhaliwal charged forward with possession before finding Brittney Zacharuk on the left wing. Zacharuk crossed the ball into the box where Monika Levarsky stretched out to deflect it into the far corner of the net.

The goal snapped a 287-minute shutout streak, spanning more than three games, for the Bisons.

Shelby Beck added to the Cascades’ lead in the 24th minute. Zacharuk, who was a force all afternoon, picked up her second assist of the game when she fired a ball into the box for Beck. A Bison defender blocked Beck’s first crack at goal, but a friendly bounce led to her getting another chance. She would make no mistake the second time around as she slotted the ball past Bisons keeper Madison Wilford.

UFV earned a third goal from a set piece in the final minute of the half. Again from the left side, Beck punched the ball into the area. Dhaliwal got under it at the right post and headed it back across goal where Cascade defender Tristan Corneil was first to it and drove the ball into the net.

The Bisons would answer back late into stoppage time. Wilford wisely punted the ball downfield to substitute Alyssa Daley. The Bisons forward made a hard run towards goal and got around the challenge of Jeras before chipping the ball over UFV keeper Kayla Klim just seconds before the halftime whistle.

Halftime adjustments by both teams saw the early portion of the second half played methodically, with little chance for either squad in the attacking third. And when a 76th-minute opportunity for UFV presented itself, Wilford was there to shut the door.

Levarsky flicked the ball past a Bison defender for Dhaliwal to run onto. She made a quick move to the right side of goal before striking the ball on net. Wilford challenged well and deftly punched the ball wide.

The Bisons would draw to within one in the 85th. Daley earned her second point of the match when she slipped the ball past the Cascades defence to Selina Speranza. UFV keeper Emily Harrold, who replaced Klim at half, charged out of her net to challenge but Speranza showed great poise and chipped the ball into the top portion of the net.

Rookie Harman Billen picked up game MVP honours, having effectively controlled the midfield on behalf of the Cascades.

“It’s great to get back to winning ways,” Giesbrecht acknowledged.

“You’re dominating a game, and you fall asleep and switch off. It’s a learning opportunity, which is the most positive way to look at it. You can’t switch off against any team in Canada West, or they’ll punish you. It’s a dangerous game to play.”

Women’s Volleyball: Cascades open PacWest season with five-set win over rival Bearcats

The University of the Fraser Valley women’s volleyball team delivered a victory for new head coach Mike Gilray in his PacWest regular season debut, outlasting the Columbia Bible Bearcats in five sets on Friday evening.

Playing before a boisterous crowd at Columbia Place, the Cascades quickly took control, winning the first two sets 25-16 and 25-12. The Bearcats settled down, though, and won the next two sets by scores of 25-18 and 25-23 to draw even. But UFV finished strong, prevailing 15-10 in the fifth.

“That was a really big win,” Gilray said afterward. “I knew they (the Bearcats) were going to be just feisty for a win, and (CBC head coach) Duncan (Harrison) does a great job of preparing them.

“For our girls to handle the momentum swings . . . I thought they answered it very well. The fifth game was probably our best. We executed at our highest rate.”

One of the keys to victory for the Cascades was their strong performance at the service line. Fifth-year setter Nicole Blandford led the way in that department, unleashing eight aces.

“It’s definitely one of the best serving games we’ve had as a team, and it helped, for sure,” Gilray said. “Today, probably for the first time – even in practice – we served at 86 or 87 per cent. And we had a 15 per cent ace ratio, which is very high.”

The UFV bench boss also lauded the play of a pair of outside hitters – sophomore Rachel Funk and rookie Chelsea Kidd – on Friday, while noting his team needs to see improvement in its serve receive.

The Cascades renew hostilities with the Bearcats on Saturday, this time at the Envision Athletic Centre. UFV’s volleyball home openers run at 5 p.m. (women) and 7 p.m. (men).

“I’ve coached for a lot of years, and I was pretty nervous coming into today,” said Gilray, reflecting on his first regular season win at the helm of the Cascades. “I’m a coach who likes to be prepared, and not knowing CBC at all kind of took me out of my comfort zone.

“I think I’ll be more comfortable going into tomorrow’s match, because I’ll be able to game-plan a little better.”

Men’s Vo9lleyball: Cascades open with sweep of Bearcats

The University of the Fraser Valley men’s volleyball team launched into the PacWest regular season in promising fashion, beating their crosstown rival Columbia Bible College Bearcats.

The Cascades swept the Bearcats in three straight sets at Columbia Place on Friday evening, and the scene shifts to UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre on Saturday for the back half of the home-and-home. The UFV and CBC women’s volleyballers play at 5 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 7 p.m.

“It wasn’t picture-perfect – we definitely had our struggles with our serving,” Cascades head coach Kyle Donen said, reflecting on Friday’s triumph. “But we got everybody into the game, let everybody get a feel for it.

“For the most part, our overall team performance was good for the first game. A few nerves, but overall, we felt pretty good about it.”

Fifth-year outside hitter Adam Chaplin was among the standouts for the Cascades on Friday, blending a strong game at the service line with smart decision-making as an attacker. Sophomore setter Adam Fredrickson, in his first game as the starter, did a good job of distributing the ball, while libero Isaiah Dahl also had a strong start.

“Room for improvement tomorrow, but we got the W,” Donen summarized. “I think we can be pretty happy about that.”

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